The Un-Secret ADHD Support Group

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I try to live by the adage that “where there are no secrets, evil has no power”. I find that the more you have out in the open, the more you aren’t wasting energy trying to hide stuff.

Since mentioning that I have adult ADHD, it’s been interesting to see how much other people are opening up about their own struggles. One person asked me yesterday at church when I was going to start a support group for those who have adult ADHD like himself (I had no idea he had it… but my honesty birthed his honesty). I told him “never”… because trying to get a group of people with ADHD together would be like trying to corral cats (and don’t even get me started on those who agree schedule to meet… but then forget about the meeting)!

But the question about having a “support group” got me thinking. I wonder how many people who struggle with ADHD struggle alone? If so many people have it, why are we all hiding?

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Even though I wasn’t officially diagnosed with ADHD until recently, I always knew that I had it (um… my wife has known for a long time too!) so I had already put strategies and structures in place to help me be more productive. But what about those who are lost wondering why they “aren’t reaching their potential” or “staying on task”? What about those who are the “daydreamers” when the reality is that the repetitive tasks that they are performing for their jobs are causing their minds to ‘check out’?

So, I am not saying that I am starting a support group (though I think if you are aware of it you should let me know so that I can include you in some of my thoughts / findings). But I am saying that I may talk more about this and see how it may benefit others. A conversation only continues as long as it is mutually beneficial. If all parties are not benefitting, it simply turns into a rant or a monologue… and I have no time for that.

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So leave me your thoughts and comment below. Leave me your struggles. Your strategies. Let’s get it out in the open. Perhaps the rest of us may find some solutions birthed from the struggles that you may have previously faced and overcome.

We have nothing to hide,

 

C

 

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Being Productive with ADHD

ADHD Dog

I have ADHD. Ok… it’s out there.

If you know me, you are not shocked. It explains a lot of things that I do. It explains some of my patterns (or lack thereof actually). It explains why I do the things I do… and why I sometimes don’t do the things I should do.

If you have ADHD you will understand what I am about to say: being productive and effective when you have ADHD has very little to do with your lack of skill and a lot to do with your lack of structure.

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Structure is the foundation to effectively managing ADHD… but it is also the bane of our existence. We want structure… just so we know where we can colour outside the lines.

Anyway, I digress (ADHD shocker).

Last week I knew I needed to get away and think. Without the interruptions. Without the calls and the “squirrels” that would cause me to become ineffective (I have just spent the last minute thinking of Dug the dog in the movie Up just because I wrote “squirrels”).

So I got away for the day. My office knew they could contact me if they needed to but for most of the day, I was alone with my headphones listening to the Deep Focus playlist on Spotify).

If you struggle with ADHD, or have a hard time setting up a structure to get things done, I thought I would let you know what I did for the day. This may help you if you are needing some time alone to think, plan, and prepare for your upcoming week, month, projects, etc.

Here’s what I did:

1 – Got up early! I had my computer on and ready to go before most people hit the snooze button for the first time. Most days I am working by 5am and I plough through a lot of my tasks before the first person asks me a question and starts my cycle of pseudo-multitasking (I don’t believe men can multitask… and don’t even get me started on a man with ADHD!!!!).

2 – Reviewed Last Month’s Calendar (30 minutes). I looked at my Google Calendar (everything I do is on there) and went over the last month. I asked myself where I wasted time. I looked at where I may have started something but didn’t finish it and I made myself a note to make it a task in Asana later.  When it was all said and done, I probably had 15-20 new tasks to add to my list simply by looking at what I had done, and not done last month.

3 – Set “Personal” Goals (60 minutes). After reading it 25 years ago, I still use the “Sharpen the Saw” technique of  Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People to help me make sure that I am making “me” a priority first to work on. I wrote down four categories in my journal with three lines under each: physical, spiritual, mental, and social. I gave myself goals that were attainable to reach by the end of the month. I continued on with writing my different “roles” down (7 Habits model) and gave myself a few things that I wanted to accomplish in each role over the next month.

4 – Populated my To Do list (30 minutes). I took all of the “to do” things and asked myself three questions:
What must I do?
What should I do?
What could I do?
Once I was done that process I took the “must do” list and broke it quickly down into three categories:
critical,
imperative, and
important.
After finishing that process, I prioritized only the critical list. I knew that once I was done the critical list, I could move onto prioritizing the imperative list. If I took the time to prioritize anything else I knew I would start to “squirrel” off. Deal with only the critical… the imperative and important would eventually be dealt with.

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So now, after starting the morning feeling overwhelmed with all that I needed to do, I was ready to work on my tasks simply by spending two hours basically planning my whole month’s worth of focus.

So I got to work. And I only focused on the list… nothing else. No emails. No Facebook feeds. No Insta-stories.. Just… the list. And I was amazed as to how much I got accomplished. Yes, for many people you may be reading this and saying, “Welcome to my every day.” But to someone with ADHD it’s like hitting the “Productivity Lottery”… you know it is possible to win, but your chances are like 1:1,000,000,000,000. So… there’s that.

It’s now the beginning of the next week and I know that I have a LOT to do over the next few days, few weeks… even few months. But having taken the time to think, plan, and prepare my upcoming schedule, I know that I have set up my life so that by the end of the month, when I need to do this all over again, I will have accomplished and forged ahead much further than had I simply chased after the closest “squirrel”… (and… now I’m back to thinking about the movie Up again).

At least that’s how I see it,

 

C